LOS ANGELES, (UPI) — Fugitive ex-Los Angeles cop Christopher Dorner, hours before he was believed killed, told a couple he tied up he just wanted to clear his name, the couple said.
“He tried to calm us down, saying very frequently he would not kill us,” Jim Reynolds, 66, told reporters.
“He huddled down beside me and said: ‘You’re going to be quiet, right? Not make a fuss and let me get away?'” said Reynolds, who has owned a mountain condominium in Big Bear Lake with his wife for 12 years.
Karen Reynolds, 56, said: “He told us, ‘I know you know who I am. I know you’ve been seeing the news.'”
The couple said Dorner, 33, who they believe had been at their condo as early as Friday, told them Tuesday, a few hours before he was believed to have died in a burned cabin: “I don’t have a problem with you. I just want to clear my name.”
The couple said Dorner bound their arms and legs tightly with plastic zip locks, stuffed small towels in their mouths to keep them from screaming and covered their heads with pillowcases.
He tied an extension cord around each pillowcase to keep the gags in place, they said.
“I really thought it could be the end,” Karen Reynolds said at the news conference.
About 2 minutes after Dorner fled the condo in their purple Nissan, Karen Reynolds managed to roll onto her knees and then get onto her feet, she said.
She made her way to a cellphone on the coffee table and, with her hands still bound behind her back, called 911.
“Dorner tied us up, and he’s in Big Bear,” she said she told the operator.
That 12:20 p.m. call alerted authorities and set in motion a chain of events that led to shootouts and a standoff at a cabin where Dorner is believed to have been killed in flames that destroyed the wooden structure.
The blaze was sparked after authorities fired incendiary tear gas into the cabin, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon told reporters Wednesday.
McMahon denied officers intentionally set the fire.
He said officers first used traditional tear gas to flush the man out. When that didn’t work, they used canisters of an aerosol tear gas component commonly referred to as CS gas, a riot-control agent.
CS gas is a volatile solvent the Los Angeles Times said has a significantly greater chance of starting a fire.
“We did not intentionally burn down that cabin,” McMahon said.
McMahon said he could not “absolutely, positively confirm” the body found in the charred rubble was Dorner, but he said, “We believe the investigation is over at this point.”